With a documented history dating back to the 7th century, Kraków is one of the oldest cities in Poland. Approximately, 1.7 million people live in the metropolitan area, making Kraków the second largest city in Poland, behind only Warsaw. The city is located on the Vistula river and is also the capital city of the Lesser Poland region (pl. Małopolska). An unquestioned architectural gem, Kraków attracts millions of tourists every year and has consistently earned high scores in international tourist destination rankings.
Kraków is also the artistic and cultural centre of Poland, with plenty to do all year round. There are numerous museums, art galleries, historic monuments and churches, including the world-famous Main Market Square, the magnificent Wawel Royal Castle and the stunning St. Mary’s Basilica. Kraków also hosts a range of excellent performing arts institutions, including the Kraków Philharmonic Orchestra and the Kraków Opera, as well as prominent annual festivals such as the Krakow Film Festival and the Jewish Culture Festival.
Kraków has gained international recognition in the academic field. With no less than five major universities (including the Jagiellonian University – one of the oldest surviving universities in the world), and more than 200 000 students, it is the academic centre of Poland. Students from all over the world come here, mainly thanks to the Erasmus student exchange programme, contributing to the cosmopolitan character of the city. While Polish remains the official language, many people here speak Yiddish, Hebrew, Ukrainian or Slovak, with English being the most widely spoken foreign language.
Kraków is the main business hub for the southern part of Poland. According to the available data, the city plays host to more than 11 thousand foreigners working for international companies which have chosen the capital of Lesser Poland to develop their business activities. Many household brands run Business Process Outsourcing/Shared Service Centres in Kraków in order to expand the global operations. The city also hosts many international societies which aim to foster understanding of the local business environment and support local expat communities, given that diversity has become one of Kraków’s major strengths.
The business landscape looks very promising for Life Science and medical industries in particular. Kraków is home to the largest drug discovery company in Poland (and the whole CEE region), as well as a wide variety of other biotech, medtech, bioinformatics and technology start-ups.